In memory of Michael Kamin Hart

Michael Kamin Hart was diagnosed with lymphoma and passed away on June 5, 2011 at the age of 25. His family created the Michael Kamin Hart Award for Excellence in Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Care in his honour. (Photo: Hart family)

In memory of Michael Kamin Hart

Michael Kamin Hart was a promising second-year Masters student at McMaster University. Vibrant, intelligent and compassionate, he was diagnosed with lymphoma and passed away on June 5, 2011 at the age of 25.

On March 30, 2015, as part of Adolescent and Young Adults Cancer Awareness Week, the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre hosted its second annual lectureship in honour of Michael. His family wished to recognize Princess Margaret staff members who provided them with comfort during Michael's cancer journey. In addition to receiving awards at the lectureship, Laurie and Kevin each received $1,000 to recognize their exceptional work with AYA patients.

The Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Oncology program at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre provides personalized, supportive, non-medical care for patients 39 and under.

Young adult patients often have different needs and concerns than older patients. Their needs may be related to fertility preservation and risks, sexuality and sexual health, school and work transitions, social relationships, nutrition, and exercise.

"I'm so overwhelmed with gratitude. I feel so lucky to work with these young patients. Not having children of my own, I'm very close with my nieces and nephews – and AYA patients have become a part of my little group," says Laurie.

The wig salon at the Princess Margaret carries hats, wigs, scarves and accessories for patients. Laurie books time with patients to find the perfect wig or accessory to make them feel comfortable during treatment.

As a 27-year-old, Kevin also understands the needs of this group as he can relate to the milestones and life events his patients are currently experiencing. His treatment unit also sees pediatric patients from the Hospital for Sick Children.

"I have many patients in their 20s, the same age as me, that are planning their weddings, arranging tux and dress fittings and getting married. I'm inspired by their strength."

"This is a very unique population with a specialized set of needs – they are building self-esteem, dealing with their careers and coping with the stressors of everyday life. It's our job to make their experience as comfortable and be as supportive as possible."

Congratulations to all 2015 Michael Kamin Hart Award nominees. From left to right: Norma D'Agostino, Geremy Capone, Christy Brissette, Susan Awrey, Valerie Bowering, Sarah Wood. Missing: Ai Tanimizu, Pernille Pedersen, Sharmy Sarvanatham. (Photo: Photographics UHN)